Southern Colorado innovation strategy

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What would the Springs look like if the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs had 35,000 students and a $750 million to $1 billion dollar impact on our local economy?

Dare I suggest that the Springs could become a major metropolitan city and the state Capitol, now in Denver, would be taken down brick-by brick and moved to the southwest area of downtown, bordering on America the Beautiful park on the east and Pikes Peak Center on the west.

OK, utopian Lon you are saying. The initiative is under way though. The Southern Colorado Innovation Strategy, led by UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zallabak, is under way.

“It’s about the region,” she said. “It’s about the role in leadership UCCS wants to take to improve social, economic and cultural outcomes.”

The Innovation Strategy, though focused on lofty goals, is actually pretty simple. The strategy is program diversification, technology transfer, community partnerships, and regional partnerships.

The results are 35,000-plus students, increased research to $50 million annually, growing two new companies annually, 100 active community/regional collaborations, and contributions to business retention and attraction.

Another part of the strategy is to start a research and entrepreneur fund to enhance research and technology transfer and promote economic development in southern Colorado.

Don’t forget to fully engage with the U.S. Air Force Academy on the hundreds of thousands of square feet of research labs, from rockets to sleep labs to wind tunnels and plane structure labs.

I think it can be done. UCCS’s technology transfer of invention disclosures went from five in 2004-05 to 13 in 2005-06 and 14 each in 2006-07 and 2007-08, respectively. UCCS is a happening place. Their bachelor of innovation is a very unique degree. Last year they had 100 students going for it.

The process has started. I encourage everyone to get involved to help make UCCS the biggest and brightest institution of higher learning in the state of Colorado. Our city will benefit greatly.

I think Dean Venkat Reddy of the UCCS College of Business said it best: “Every great city is built around a great university.”

Lon Matejczyk is publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal. He can be reached at Lon.Matejczyk@csbj.com or 329-5202.